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4 Ways Text Messaging Improves Clinical Study Compliance

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In an OutSourcing-Pharma podcast, Rahlyn Gossen from Rebar Interactive (we’re big fans of the Rebar blog) is interviewed.  Based on the book The Power of Habit that the specialist recently read, she suggests designing trials around real-life patient habits to increase compliance. She claims:

“The idea is to consider the patients’ existing habits and try and use those to form new habits.”

Since text messaging is highly integrated into daily life and habits, this is a main area where change can occur to increase compliance. Here are four suggested ways to use text messaging to help patients integrate study compliance into their everyday lives:

Prompt Patients To Take Medication At Designated Times

For patients struggling to remember to take their study drug, send an automated text to the patient at the time he or she should be taking the drug. Most people habitually answer their phones within minutes of receiving a text message, so patients will see the reminders and take their study drug more often.

Have Patients Add Study Visits To Their Personal Calendars

When adding a patient visit onto your site’s calendar, send the patient a text message with the date and time information for their next study appointment. On most mobile devices, patients will be able to click on this date and add it directly to their habitually used online calendar or calendar application.

Ask Patients How They Are Feeling

Use a survey-style text message to gauge how patients are feeling. If they answer that they are not feeling well, send a follow up text to see if an adverse event needs to be captured. Most conversations start out asking, “How are you doing today?,” and patients will not think twice about the question being asked.

Remind Patients to Fast or Bring Samples

Most subjects want to comply with the study protocol, but can easily forget tasks that they are supposed to do. Reminders are easy texts to send, and patients receive them right away. For forgetful patients, receiving a short reminder will be a significant help in remembering to bring in a sample, return drug, or fast before a visit.

Texting is a habitual practice in and of itself, and can be used to help create habits in patients to increase compliance in clinical trials.

Looking for ways of improving compliance in your studies? Mosio can help you achieve this goal. Learn more at http://www.mosio.com/research

Author: Emily Waller holds an Honors B.S. in Biomedical Engineering, has worked on numerous clinical trials, and as a medical & technical writer.  She writes to promote innovative ideas in healthcare, technology, and research within the online community.  She also loves photography, neuroscience, and household DIY projects.

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